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The Happy diet. Saturday January 4, 2014

Being in the midst of a global obesity epidemic; it is probably safe to assume that many readers may have tried to lose weight in the past.

If it was anything like the average diet, the results probably didn't last for long. I would like to explain - albeit incredibly briefly - one major factor into why diets don't work. Just before we start, ask yourself one quick question. Why do people really diet?

Dieting has become incredibly engrained into our human psyche. What is seldom discussed is the true answer to the above question. Every diet you do, you do with the belief that you will be happier as a result.

You may expect people to find you more attractive or you will feel better about yourself when you lose weight. Happiness is key. Oftentimes however, diets are not happy (or healthy) things to be on.

It is an often quoted fact that 98% of diets fail; that is, within a year - 98% of people who attempt to diet, not only within a year return back to their original weight but gain additional weight than when they started.

This usually prompts another dieting attempt (albeit under a different brand name) with the same effects. As Einstein quite rightly said; doing the same thing twice and expecting
a different result is the definition of insanity.

So we have a paradox. Although there are lots of different types of diet, any quick fix to a weight problem can be incredibly damaging to your body. Trying to lose a lot of weight over short period (often with nutritionally deficient diet products) is encouraging your body to be more resistant to fat loss in the future, and more prone to weight gain. Often, restricted on the foods that can be eaten, as well as affecting social lives, diets can be unhappy and lonely times for people. Most people can put up with these sacrifices in the short term because they see the potential for happiness at the end of the road. However, as we all know, the results don't often last. All of a sudden, you're on a dieting cycle, a merry-go-round that keeps spinning faster and the more it does, the harder it is to jump off.

I would therefore like to leave you with some advice. You have a diet; your diet is what you eat - day in, day out. The only way to see real positive change is by making small adjustments to your life, trying new dietary changes and seeing how they work over a period of time. Body fat is not just this unsightly thing that sits on your stomach, an extension of who it is you really want to be. Rather than just how much you are eating, other issues such as hormonal problems usually lay at the heart of expanding waistlines and these aren't often helped by conventional dieting. Small changes in your lifestyle such as an hour more sleep a night, eating real food, getting some fresh air and spending time with the family can all yield fantastic benefits to your waistline, and more importantly, your happiness.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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Julia Sat, Jan 4th 2014 @ 8:27am

You are so right Jake.We should love our bodies and treat them well.Not abuse them with restricted foods, manic exercise, and yo yo dieting. As you say our bodies need to be nourished with "real food". Only when we stop abusing our bodies with fad diets etc, will we be the right weight and shape. Great blog.

Anonymous Sat, Jan 4th 2014 @ 10:50am

I cannot agree more! I have started eating as much raw veg, salad and fruit to fill me up at the start of a meal, choosing a tiny treat to have with or after meals, drinking loads of water, only eating when hungry, stopping when no longer hungry rather than when uncomfortable stuffed .. c'mon you know you've done it too! as I cannot move much following ankle surgery 11.12.13, (ouch) & in plaster till end Jan 2014, but...... every cloud has a silver lining ....I have lost 10kg/almost 2 stone sing 11th and I feel good!!!

Jersey26 Sat, Jan 4th 2014 @ 11:23am

Thank you Jake

Interesting how food and drink are also used to provide happiness and relieve stress and as per dieting fail. I have found the 5:2 approach to healthy eating both successful and sustainable and see it as a permanentbadjustment to my life style

Julia Sat, Jan 4th 2014 @ 11:47am

We don't know what is a normal size for men and women any longer. We think we know what obese and very over weight and anorexic and underweight looks like but many young girls and men think that thin is a normal weight or appearance or to be aspired to. I would probably hazard a non medical guess that many people think they are too fat when in fact they are probably a normal weight for their age and height/ level of activity. Rebecca Addington the Olympic swimmer is normal weight and shape for her age etc and yet she thinks she is fat. But by what standard? It's very sad really as no one is defining normal any more.

Anonymous Sat, Jan 4th 2014 @ 12:30pm

In order to address both body and mind it can be useful checking out local leisure facilities. I do mean 'leisure' as opposed to gym, but that too. There are many things available that can lift the mood, whether it be a Zumba class or chatting to others who go to the classes. Difficult as it sometimes is to go to one of these places when you feel down, once there there is usually a shift towards positive. Age and abilities are not relevant as even with broken bones provided you have a safe way to get to the leisure centre there are classes that can equally be done sitting or lying on the floor and using limited movements. The tutor will advise you and that personal input will make you feel more positive.

Anonymous Sat, Jan 4th 2014 @ 12:43pm

Absolutely. Diet is for every day - not just for (after) Christmas. Two years ago I cut down my calories by about 15% and have lost approaching 40 pounds. Of course at party times and holidays I'll put some weight on but it soon returns to normal with the return to normal diet. The problem with "fad" dieting is that excess food/drink is the norm and the diet is the exception.

Maryann Sat, Jan 4th 2014 @ 2:51pm

All the well-intentioned suggestions about eating "real food" and how to assemble a healthy plan has no appeal to me once I start eating sweets to soothe my depression. The fresh vegetables slowly mold in the refrigerator. Only excess junk food appeals at those times. So I ask, isn't part of the problem that we aren't stopping during that fraction of a second between thinking about a piece of food and putting into our mouths, to ask ourselves, "Why am I doing this?" No well-intentioned effort to love our bodies works when we are deep into depression and never learned how to love our bodies. Being present to what we are doing at the moment might help. Here is a quote from Palmer Parker's book The Active Life that helps me to pause. I have it written on a card and posted it in front of my cupboard of carbohydrates. "If we do not explore that force...we will live out our lives as automatons who move but do not choose."

mudandstars Sat, Jan 4th 2014 @ 4:29pm

I think it can help to remember it is actually OK to be hungry now and again. Going to bed earlier has multiple benefits as it helps to avoid the temptation of a late night snack and leaves one with more energy for exercise the following day. Thinking of trying to avoid heart disease and diabetes in the future could also be motivating.

Lostinspace Sat, Jan 4th 2014 @ 5:39pm

What I really like here is the question Why do people really diet? Being happier is such an intangible response and surely an odd thing to say and about as inspiring as going to work to make money to pay bills.
Some people I know agree with me that the time to diet is when your clothes don't fit and you are uncomfortable with the unsightly, which in my case is the spare tire out of sight behind me (just checked it's still only 1 fat one!). Many folks I know have at least two sizes of garment in their wardrobe. Perhaps it would be good to lower the bar, my husband is always saying he wants to lose 40 lbs and never shifts an ounce; whereas if he would only say "I am going to lose 10 lbs" it is a more achievable goal, well within the possibility range. Even weirder is the amount of people who are told by their doctor to lose weight and deliberately ignore the advice, we rarely meet someone who replies "Because my doctor told me". I know of people who have died ignoring their doctor's advice. The power of the psyche seems to outweigh so many other factors. Perhaps dieting can only be successful if we are totally selfish/egotistical about it and recognise that we are doing this entirely for ourselves and nobody else.
In 2011 from April to August I lost 20 lbs. I had a sensible diet from a nutritionist who also told me that 290 minutes a week of exercise would really help. I mostly adhered to the regimen and over the five months shifted the weight. What surprised me was the non- reaction of friends and acquaintances bar one and my husband. They will discuss diets and tell you what to do until the cows come home, God help you if you put on some weight - there is always some dear creature to tell you what the mirror spelled out long ago.
Human nature I know but still disappointing. Dieting and exercise is tremendously hard work, no wonder we fail and rarely embark on one of the wretched things. All the weight I lost I put back on with diet's best saboteur - depression.
Jake, I really like the last paragraph and I see that you don't bother to add "Try not to worry about it". I wish I could eliminate worry about my weight from my head space - imagine what could be achieved with positive thinking about something else!
An endless subject, and as for what is normal I think that IMC thing is quite useful, can't find it now but no doubt dear old Google can supply the answer.

Julia Sat, Jan 4th 2014 @ 6:20pm

"The power of the psyche seems to outweigh so many other factors" Well put Lostinspace :) I can relate this to other aspects of my life. People tell me that if I didn't obsess so much about my sleep, (or lack of it) and concentrated on something else (dieting perhaps??!), my sleep pattern would right itself. It's all in the mind. I must look up the IMC thing!

Daren Sat, Jan 4th 2014 @ 9:33pm

Brings to mind the concept of primary and secondary food as practiced by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (

Essentially, primary foods feeds our souls and psyches; secondary foods fuel our bodies. Read on... I think for many of us, it's a critical paradigm shift that will reshape our view of food & nutrition.

Silvia A Sun, Jan 5th 2014 @ 2:08am

My experience with Pete Cohen's method was wonderful. I lost 7 kilos without effort in six months. I've stopped eating sweets, desserts and chocolate and kept with this for many years.
But no matter his excellent method many of us gain weight again. It is necessary to rearrange many things in my life in order to eat and exercise regularly and loose weight in a very healthy way.
I recommend it

platinum hcg drops Wed, Jan 15th 2014 @ 5:08pm

Jake this is amazing blog thanks for share and write this blog

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